Six Nations: Win over Italy has Scott Johnson dreaming of the title

Last Updated: 10/02/13 10:20am

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Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson insists his side are right back in the running for the Six Nations title after their four-try victory over Italy - but warned his side still have plenty of room to improve.

Scotland bounced back from their opening-day defeat by England to sweep to a 34-10 victory over an Italian side that had stunned France last weekend.

Johnson said: "We are really happy with the scoreboard and who wouldn't be? But we are in a championship and we want to win the championship.

"Whilst there were some really good things in that game and much improvement in areas we needed to improve in, there is still plenty left out on that pitch.

"We did really well in the defence for most of the game and there was a real turning point when Hoggy took it from one end of the field to the other, which was really a 14-point turnaround.

"But the events that occurred just beforehand were disappointing. The scoreboard could have changed really quickly.

"We just have to keep doing our work. We have to keep improving. We're in a tournament and today's result puts us right in it. We're in this."
Scott Johnson

"We have to acknowledge that but I keep saying if we get our part right, we can put sides away from some distance because we have a potent back line.

"We just have to keep doing our work. We have to keep improving. We're in a tournament and today's result puts us right in it. We're in this."

Johnson had been bitterly disappointed with his side's physicality and defence in their 38-18 defeat at Twickenham.

A tackle count of 146 with a 92 per cent success rate showed a marked improvement.

Honest

"There is no point telling a kid without being completely honest," added Johnson, whose team next host Ireland in two weeks.

"There is such a propensity in the world when you are in trouble that you try to go to the end before you understand the beginning. We get to the end pretty good when we get the opportunities.

"The reality is we have to do a lot of the beginning. It's a reckoning that this is what we need to do and do it well.

"The contact and collision area is such a big part of the game and we are deluding ourselves if we think otherwise. There were periods today when we showed there is no excuse why we can't do it. We have got the physical specimens to do it and if we get it right, rugby is far more enjoyable."

Scotland captain Kelly Brown was delighted with the fight shown by his players as they won their first Six Nations game for almost two years.

"My overriding emotion is pride. We knew after last week we needed to bounce back and I felt we did that."
Kelly Brown

"We said last week after England that they won all the one-on-ones but it felt out there that we fought hard and worked hard as a side," Brown said.

"My overriding emotion is pride. We knew after last week we needed to bounce back and I felt we did that.

"But it's only the start. It's only one game and it's up to us to make sure we learn from this match and on our next outing are even stronger."

Italy coach Jacques Brunel was disappointed with his side's defending but brushed aside claims he had taken too many risks with his tactics.

"I think that's the price we pay to keep on growing," he said. "Today we certainly paid a high price.

"The Scots defended really well and there were many issues with our speed and defence throughout the game as well.

"We played in such an individual way, now we have two weeks to try to understand and come back for the Wales game."

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